It’s always uplifting to see talented and successful athletes give God the glory. There have been many Christian sports stars that allow God to use them to profess their faith to millions of people. Running has been in my blood since I was little and I have always loved playing and trying new sports. As a child, there were many athletes I aspired to be, but became disappointed after learning how many misused their fame and fortune. Thankfully, there were and still are many Christian athletes who boldly defend and profess their faith. For them, playing professionally is not for selfish reasons – it’s about God using their talents for His greater purpose.
Here are 15 powerful quotes from Christian sports stars.
15. Eric Liddell – Professional Runner from Scotland in the 1920’s and 1930’s and Olympic Gold Medalist
“The secret of my success over the 400 metres is that I run the first 200 metres as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200 metres, with God’s help, I run harder.”
14. Case Keenum – NFL Quarterback for the Houston Texans
“God calls us to use our abilities to our greatest potential for His glory, and that includes whenever we step on the field,” Keenum said. “It’s not to beat the guy next to you; it’s to recognize it as an opportunity from God to reveal His glory.”
13. Morgan Shepherd – NASCAR Nationwide Series
“I still have great passion and a love for the sport,” Shepherd said. “Undoubtedly the Lord wants me to be out here because I wouldn’t be out here and able to do it (otherwise). I don’t (physically) run out of gas. I can withstand the heat better than anybody out there. God has kept me tough.”
12. Mark Teixeira – MLB First Baseman for the New York Yankees
“Having a relationship with Christ makes me a better player,” Teixeira said. “It allows me to handle situations better. It allows me to treat people better and it allows me to have a better mental attitude towards baseball. I’m not going to kill myself when I don’t get a hit and that makes me better. Because when you put too much pressure on yourself, it’s harder to play.”
11. Bubba Watson – Golfer on the PGA Tour
"Golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can."
10. Tim Tebow – Former NFL Quarterback for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets and Current ESPN College Football Analyst
"I have so many things to work on, and so many ways that I fail. But that's what grace is all about. And I constantly wake up every morning trying to get better, trying to improve, trying to walk closer to God."
9. Gabby Douglas – Professional Gymnast and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist
"I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him, and the blessings fall down on me."
8. Kevin Durant – NBA Player for the Oklahoma City Thunder
“I always kind of pinch myself and say that any day this can be gone,” Durant said. “In the Bible, (it says) the Lord exalts humility…I (remind myself that I) can always be better. I always work on what I have now. I’ve just got to be thankful to the Lord for the gifts He’s given me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to always try to work as hard as I can.”
7. Clayton Kershaw – MLB Player for the Los Angeles Dodgers
“It’s for (God’s) glory,” he said. “He doesn’t want us to hide our talents. He wants us to put them in the spotlight and glorify Him. That’s a pretty cool thing.”
6. John Wooden, Former Basketball Coach and College Basketball Player
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
5. Mariano Rivera – Retired MLB Player of the New York Yankees
“Everything I have and everything I became is because of the strength of the Lord, and through him I have accomplished everything. Not because of my strength. Only by His love, his mercy, and his strength.”
4. Jeremy Lin – NBA Player for the Los Angeles Lakers
“In many ways, the longer I live, I understand that there are so many things outside my control. That's why I believe faith is such a big part of the story. There are so many things that were orchestrated by God, that were put into place to make this perfect storm, that created Linsanity.”
3. Shaun Alexander – Former NFL Players for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins
“I am a Christian that loves the Lord that just happens to play football,” Shaun says, “that happens to get to be on cool TV shows, that happens to get to be on commercials. I’m a Godly man first. I chase after God. I play football for the sole reason to give God Glory.”
2. Hunter Smith – Retired NFL Player of the Indianapolis Colts
“My ministry to my family is the most important ministry that I have,” Hunter said. “That is loving my wife first and foremost. I want to see my sons be oaks of righteousness and I want to see them grow up and be strong men of God.”
1. Allyson Felix – American Track and Field Sprinter and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist
“For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14,900 professional athletes in 2012. Think about the number of pro athletes and the attention they often receive on and off the field. There are many Christians, but also too numerous who gain fame for the wrong reasons. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is an awesome organization who supports athletes with faith. I would love to see more Christian sports stars become more outward about their faith and encourage up and coming athletes to use their talents to glorify God. Who is your favorite Christian athlete?
Article by Elise Cleary
I am a Christian writer and editor that lives in northern Michigan and thoroughly enjoy music, movies, TV shows, books and other entertainment with a Christian focus. My favorite song is "Oceans" by Hillsong United because it reminds me that has big plans for me and everyone else who puts their trust in Him. There are many movies that have impacted my life, but a few include God's Not Dead, The Shunning and Letters to God. I also write for www.faithandentertainment.com and love connecting with readers, so please don't hesitate to contact me! When I'm not writing I enjoy watching movies and laughing with my busy toddler and husband.